Boosting your immune system is not that hard so why don’t people think about it?
Perhaps, it is because most Doctors fail to explain why a healthy immune system is crucial for health.
To begin, it starts with eating correctly. Why and how to boost your immune system largely through habit changes is the focus of this article. Then, of course, we add supplements to “nail it.”
A proper diet is crucial to disease prevention and optimal well-being, energy, sleep, looks, mood, brain health and more. There is more to a “proper diet” than just eating what you think are “balanced meals.” This is one of the keys to a great immune system. Further, boosting your immune system just might depend on what you are already doing or not doing diet-wise.
Cancer is an immune-mediated disease which is largely preventable. We need to find a cure for cancer but IMHO we seriously need to have a national conversation about cancer prevention. In addition, Heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other diseases fall into the category of largely preventable by being under the “watchful eye” of your immune system.
Brain health is 100% dependent on having a well-functioning immune system. What you weigh and what you look like is primarily based on your immune system. Looks aren’t everything, but if you want a real answer to look great through each decade you need to make sure you are doing everything you can for your immune system. If you get your immune system functioning well you are on the way to good health (and looks) for life.
Basics about your Immune System:
The function and basic strength of your immune system wane with age starting at age 30. A non-optimized immune system puts you at risk for more “cold and flu.” Not a huge deal. However, cancer is an immune-mediated disease. This is a big deal. So, a poorly functioning immune system means a higher chance of getting cancer. Now you want to know how to boost your immune system, right? Many people think cancer is something you just catch, or is “luck,” or is hereditary and you can do nothing about it. WRONG! Only one of these statements is even partially true.
Angelina Jolie has a rare genetic mutation giving her an enormously high risk of ovarian and breast cancer, so she did what I believe is the right thing in HER circumstances. But in her, rare case, it wasn’t enough to just boost her immune system and hope for the best. Let me say rare once again. On the other hand, what if you don’t have a rare genetic defect? What if you have a parent who had a certain cancer or you have no family history?
Other than those of you who burned your skin as kids, raising your risk of melanoma which we CAN also decrease but less than other cancers, we have an enormous amount of control over whether or not we will get cancer in our lifetime. Here are the things you need to do to all but eliminate YOUR risk. These are also the ways to boost your immune system responsible for clearing DNA mutations which turn into cancers. So, we cannot eliminate chances of cancer of all types for all people, but we can sure decrease your chances dramatically. We do this by boosting your immune system efficiently and systematically.
The Initial Steps to boost your Immune System:
Take care of inflammation and oxidative stress:
Get rid of inflammation:
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet: Your “plate” should be 2/3 veggies and complex carbs, 1/3 lean protein. Next up, the rest of the story regarding your diet.
Foods and beverages to avoid because like it or not, they depress your immune system:
Sugar, fruit juice, diet and regular soda, refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta), “low fat” labeled foods, high starch vegetables such as white potatoes (white on inside) and corn, and all processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, etc.) as well as all processed foods. This doesn’t mean all packaged foods but read the ingredients carefully because many packaged foods are indeed processed. Not to mention, they are also full of “garbage” you seriously do NOT want to eat!
Important note: You must eat MORE omega 3 anti-inflammatory acids (found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines) and less omega 6 inflammatory fatty acids (found in meats and milk). This is one reason I support diets other than the unmodified Paleo diet -too many omega 6’s which again, are inflammatory. I’m all-in for Paleo only if you stick to grass-fed, organic meats, pastured eggs and grass-fed, free-range chicken.
Here are some foods which boost your immune system:
Garlic is just amazing. It kills bacteria, viruses, and even fungus. Since eating the amount of garlic you need to do this will make you have “garlic-breath,” an odorless garlic supplement is often easier. Ours is called garlicillin and works great!
Tomatoes and raw onions are great foods to boost your immune system:
“HOT things” including cayenne pepper, hot chili peppers and, in fact, any spicy peppers are all immune boosting foods. This includes hot spices such as chili powder, red pepper flakes, wasabi, horseradish and ginger which IS spicy, especially the marinated, raw ginger you get at a sushi bar.
Furthermore, there are exotic foods, plants, and herbs which are mostly used in supplements but you CAN eat too.
These are things like astragalus, reishi mushrooms, echinacea, maitake mushrooms and green tea extract.
But honestly, those are not the “tastiest” of ways to boost your immune system. When we’re talking about immune system benefits, specifically green tea, only the top 3% of green tea leaves are bio-active. This means good decaffeinated supplements beat drinking green tea for health purposes.
Make sure you get RID of Inflammation! The other things to do:
Since this is a HUGE factor and it’s not just diet, let’s review the above and add other tidbits. We are referring to chronic inflammation here, which is something we usually just “don’t feel” until an inflammatory disease “gets us.” Cancer is an inflammatory disease! Do you know what? Heart disease is too. Heart disease is MORE about inflammation than cholesterol. See if your doctor knows that one. Even the short term memory loss preceding Alzheimer’s disease is a warning sign of brain inflammation.
You just need to, first and foremost, eat an anti- inflammatory diet.
Some of the other causes of chronic inflammation are:
Being overweight: I have many articles, books and webinars on weight loss on this website so just go hunting for the information you need.
Having a genetic predisposition for inflammation: Note anti-inflammatory supplements take care of this nicely if you are on a ketogenic diet or it’s equivalent. . Curcumin is the first one to add; it has multiple benefits for skin appearance, brain health, weight control and even more.
Some people need up to 3-4 400-500 mg capsules 2x a day. This is the case, especially, if they are overweight and can be weaned from some after weight loss occurs. There are a total of about 5 good anti-inflammatory supplements which can also take the place of anti-inflammatory medication (used for instance for arthritis) such as Aleve and Motrin.
Additionally, the multipurpose marvel of a supplement resveratrol should be added to everyone’s regimen, especially those at high risk or with a history of cancer. Having oxidative stress, which I’ll discuss in just a moment, worsens inflammation. Yes, having one makes the other one worse (Inflammation and oxidative stress).
Fix your Oxidative Stress! And yes you have it!
Oxidative stress is the opposite of how many servings of fruits/veggies you eat daily with some pollution, sunlight and air travel thrown in. It is the opposite of how high the levels of anti-oxidant vitamins are in your blood, urine, and organs.
In humans, oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the development of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and more! Hence, another big way to boost your immune system is to fix your OS.
OS is measured via raman spectroscopy or urinary isoprostanes.
Honestly, EVERYONE has it. Take the free questionnaire on the home page (symptom checker on NAV). Again, the measurement is hardly needed, though.
If you are not eating 15 servings of organic non-GMO fruits/veggies per day and have exposure to pollution, toxins or sunlight or you fly more than 2x a year, you HAVE it. If you smoke cigarettes, you have it BIG time.
This is the fancy term to describe what happens to your cells when exposed to elevated (not even diabetic) blood sugar levels. I’m talking maybe as low as 80 mg/Dl. (I say maybe because there is ongoing research and the number has dropped every couple of years. In fact, 10 years ago we used to let people get away with a fasting blood sugar of 95). Here’s the truth about what is really a normal blood sugar.
Your cells become stiff, less effective and “act older,” metabolically speaking, with a higher likelihood to mutate. Un-checked cell mutations turn into disease and, possibly, cancerous cells. This blood sugar elevation is more commonly known as insulin resistance. This too depresses your immune system. Most, if not all, of the medical community (except Anti-aging or Functional Medicine doctors), simply wait until a diagnosis of Diabetes is made, and then the issue is addressed with a prescription pharmaceutical.
Optimize the function of your G.I. tract!
When we optimize our gastrointestinal tract from stomach to colon, we, in turn, optimize our immune system function. This means we need to “re-populate” the GI tract with healthy bacteria.
If you have ever taken antibiotics or any pharmaceuticals, for that matter, you need to do this. Bad diet? You too. Toxin exposures? Yep. Any food sensitivities? Absolutely you. In fact, if you have any food sensitivities, chances are that you have leaky gut. Please clean up your diet and take other supplements besides the basics I’m discussing here. Back to the basics.
You need the right prebiotics and the right strains of “refrigerated or they do NOT work” probiotics.
This will optimize not only the GI tract but the immune system and brain too!
When you boost your immune system, it scavenges and kills cancer cells more efficiently. NOTE: YOGURT and KEFIR do not accomplish this task.
Use sunblock and supplement with Vitamin D!
Block harmful UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30, don’t tan or use (worse!) use tanning beds. Tanning of any sort will not only cause skin cancer; it will age your skin prematurely. Get your vitamin D from pharmaceutical grade supplements. I have never seen a patient with a normal vitamin D level. It should be 50-70 ng/ml unless you have calcium kidney stones.
Sleep well-Imperative for optimal immune function:
Check out the sleep articles , webinar and books- fix your sleep!
Having a high cortisol is immuno-suppressive. This happens for many reasons from emotional stress to using anabolic steroids. The fix is easy. Simply, see the article on cortisol or check out the adrenal support articles.
Avoid chemicals as much as possible:
Filter all of the water coming into your home, and this will then mean you are not showering in carcinogens! A charcoal filter at the pipeline to your home is a great investment. Think about what water you wash your vegetables in. It’s probably tap and vegetables sop up the carcinogens better than a sponge!
Yes, after all of your efforts to purchase expensive organic produce, this could be what happens. Filter your drinking water AGAIN, yes again. Have you SMELLED your unfiltered water when your city does a chlorine flush? Testing has been done with tap water in some municipalities during a “flush.”
Guess what? It sometimes tests higher than what is suggested for a swimming pool for chlorine levels! Yuk!
Lastly, read all labels of what you are eating, putting on your body and using in your household. Check the blog for help with this.
Then: Use Detox sprays: Because you cannot avoid toxins!
If you eat out, stay in hotels, live in a city, and fly more than on occasion you are not “safe.” You are not in a restaurant’s kitchen to even know if they are using organic produce let alone to supervise the washing.
More, how do you even know what they serve you in a glass is “filtered”? I sure wouldn’t risk it. The world is toxic, and you don’t know how toxic unless you specifically read about it or have someone giving you correct information.
Here is one startling example of why you want to use detox sprays out of many many examples I could go into. What about the reports we hear about weekly telling us about lead in yet another pipeline?
Apparently, we only have 2-3 years before lead, and other YUK contamination in our drinking water is rampant. I personally use my silver and zeolite sprays as “insurance.” You make sure your water bottle is BPA free right? You know BPA chemicals cause cancer, also right?
In fact, 85% of all canned goods are lined with BPA’s and it doesn’t have to be labeled! That’s right! The only way to clear BPA’s is with an effective detoxification spray. Additionally, BPA’s DO leech into what is IN the can, especially acidic foods such as tomatoes and tomato products. (BPS has replaced BPA as the new “normal” toxin-more info in detox articles).
Supplements to boost the immune system:
The last step for a rock solid immune system is to add in (depending on age and other factors) 1 to 3, and sometimes 4 immune system boosting supplements. This is especially important as you age since the immune system functions less efficiently as we age.
This is WHY we see more infections and cancers in older people. (Children with cancer have “issues” which I am not addressing here). I always start with the universal best booster found below. This is the best way to boost your immune system besides cleaning up your GI tract as discussed above.
Look for a colostrum which is a pure, potent colostrum that supports optimum immune function and intestinal health. The one I take provides an ideal combination of immune and growth factors including immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, amino acids, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and other essential nutrients.
Colostrum is a great way to boost your immune system for everyone other than those with very active auto-immune diseases, and then I would ask you to check with your doctor first.
I add on as I see fit and assume everyone is on a pre-probiotic as well. If you have a history of cancer, you must have boosters. Also, if you have fixed the issues above and you still get colds or flu, you need more boosters. Or, more likely; you have leaky gut and need to take a serious look at that.